Over 90,000 workers in the informal sector have enrolled onto the informal Sector Fund (ISF) of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), three years after its introduction.
The workers, including footballers, boxers, hairdressers, musicians, seamstresses, farmers and traders, will benefit from the SSNIT Pension Scheme on attaining their retirement ages.
A Marketing Officer of the SSNIT Informal Sector Fund, Mr. Prince Boakye, made this known to journalists during a float organized by the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Accra on Wednesday.
The float, which formed part of a campaign to get majority of informal economy operators to participate in saving towards their retirement, was organized on the theme: “Join the third-tier pension scheme”.
The participants, who were drawn from the various unions under the GTUC, went through the principal streets of Osu, Makola, Agbogbloshie and Kaneshie.
The fund was established as a subsidiary of SSNIT after research conducted by SSNIT and the World Bank had revealed that an estimated 85 per cent of people working in the informal sector were not covered under the SSNIT Pension Scheme.
The establishment of the scheme resulted from the conception that people in the informal sector whose patterns of income were irregular and unpredictable could not benefit from the SSNIT Pension Scheme.
Contributions to the scheme are not fixed, but based on a member’s ability to pay and preference and can be made daily, weekly, monthly, annually or seasonally.
According to Mr. Boakye, since its inception, the fund had received massive response, even from the youth. He said the scheme was open to people between 15 and 59 and indicated that there were many benefits, such as old age pension, disability relief, access to funds and loans after five months of contribution, among other things.
He said the scheme could also be accessed by workers in the formal sector.Mr. Boakye said one unique feature of the fund was that contributors enjoyed a form of interest rate which was higher than the normal savings rate.
The Public Relations and Marketing Manager of the Fund, Mr. Joseph Gordon-Mensah, who spoke to the Daily Graphic, confirmed the number of workers who had signed onto the scheme, saying the fund was confronted with the challenges of educating and encouraging workers to join the scheme.
Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana, 21 JULY, 2011.